Microsoft Ships Visual Studio 2019 16.4

Microsoft has shipped Visual Studio 2019 16.4, adding new functionality and features dealing with, containers. XAML Xamarin.Forms mobile development, C++ development and much more. All of those new features, functionality and fixes are detailed in a Dec. 3 announcemenet post and the release notes.

Here's a look at some new features in the release as detailed by Microsoft in a series of previews:

  • Speedy code navigation: "In 16.3 we introduced file search for all languages and semantic code search for C# and VB into the new Search bar. In 16.4 we have rewritten the Find in files tool window to address suggestions and feedback on the most popular search control in the IDE. Performance has been significantly improved and reliability issues that previously led to frustrating hangs have been fixed. We cleaned up the UI and added a few improvements like adding exclusions to a search query."
  • IntelliSense without Using directives: "IntelliSense is indispensable for browsing and finding members of a type but if you’re missing a Using directive you might not find what you need. In 16.4 IntelliSense shows members and types for any assemblies referenced from your project and automatically adds the Using directive to keep your code neat and tidy."
  • IntelliCode helps with argument completion: "IntelliCode saves you time by putting what you’re most likely to use at the top of your IntelliSense completion list. IntelliCode can also provide suggestion for arguments as you type, bringing the most likely arguments to the top of your completion list. Set your cursor on a method and type CTRL+SPACE to give it a try."
  • Automatically re-train and acquire IntelliCode team models: "Since we released the ability to create team models trained on your own code last year, we’ve heard feedback that sharing team models through links can be cumbersome and it’s difficult to remember to retrain your models. With our new Azure DevOps task and automatic acquisition of models, you can set up your pipeline to take care of team model updates and automatically share the model with others working in the same repository."
  • Refactoring with help from IntelliCode: "IntelliCode goes beyond smarter IntelliSense. IntelliCode learns from your edits and provides refactoring suggestions for repeated edits as you type. IntelliCode understands the syntactic structure of your changes so suggestions include locations with similar structure but different variables and formatting. These suggestions appear with your other refactoring quick fixes and are available from the CTRL + '.' shortcut. Remember to enable this early IntelliCode feature from Tools Options."
  • XAML code editor pop up, merge resource dictionaries and more: "In this release there are multiple new features for desktop developers building WPF or UWP applications. One such feature is the ability to open the XAML code editor window separately from the XAML designer using our new 'pop up' button next to XAML tab."
  • Audio calls and app sharing for desktop apps in Live Share: "Real time collaboration with Live Share opens the door for pair programming, rich code reviews, and help from experts even when they are remote. A quick call can often provide more context behind the code. Now the Live share tool window lets you start an audio call with other collaborators in a Live Share session."
  • Vertical tabs: Instead of the traditional horizontal across-the-top tabs, developers can now configure their IDE to display tabs down a vertical strip on the left or right sides.

    Changing to Vertical Tabs in Action
    [Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] Changing to Vertical Tabs in Action (source: Microsoft).

    Rather than coming from an extension, this stems from developer feedback, specifically this item on the Developer Community site, which states: "Document tabs are shown vertically, allowing you to fit more tabs than are normally visible when shown horizontally."

  • Pin Properties in debugger: A Pinnable Properties tools lets developers "hover over a property you want to display in the debugger window of the Watch, Autos, and Locals windows, click that pin icon, and immediately see the information you are looking for at the top of your display!"
  • Terminal window updates: "Continuing the theme of general improvements, we've added the ability to create multiple terminal instances and automatically create profiles for the Developer Command Prompt, Developer PowerShell and any WSL distributions available on your machine."
  • Overview Pages for CMake projects: "We have added Overview Pages for CMake projects to help you get started with cross-platform development. These pages are dynamic and help you install the Linux Workload, connect to a remote Linux system or the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), and add a Linux or WSL configuration to your CMake project."
  • Symbol search enabled for C++: "We've continued to expand our search capabilities by adding symbol search support for C++. You will now be able to search for types and members in addition files within the search control."
  • .NET tooling: "You can now configure the severity level of a code style rule directly through the error list." Also: "We added support for provisioning Application Insights from within the dependencies section of publish profiles."

"Visual Studio 2019 version 16.4 is the second supported servicing baseline for Visual Studio 2019," Microsoft said. "Enterprise and Professional customers needing to adopt a long term stable and secure development environment are encouraged to standardize on this version. As explained in more detail in our lifecycle and support policy, version 16.4 will be supported with fixes and security updates for one year after the release of the next servicing baseline."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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